No glitter as 2020 Saftas are cancelled amid Covid-19 pandemic

There will be no glitz and glamour for Mzansi's biggest film and television industry this year.

Sowetan has learnt that organisers of the 14th annual South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) have been forced to cancel their big plans for a spectacular awards ceremony later this year.

Two weeks ago the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) postponed the awards following President Cyril Ramaphosa's strict instructions that people stay at home as the country tries to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.

In a letter to stakeholders that Sowetan has seen, the NFVF chief executive, Makhosazana Khanyile, has recommended that the flamboyant affair be scrapped altogether this year.

Khanyile proposed a smaller format that will be broadcast on the SABC, with no attendees, and that the prestigious Golden Horn gong be delivered to winners.

"There has been no formal communication on how long this ban will be applied for and therefore will be a difficult task to postpone SAFTA14 indefinitely," Khanyile wrote.

"We suggest the following: Changing the format of the awards show to live on TV as pre-packaged content to be flighted on April 11."

Yesterday Kanyile confirmed that a letter had been sent out: "Once the lockdown has been lifted we will be able to determine a way forward.

"We request that the industry remain patient as we map a way forward in finding solutions that will allow us to celebrate SA talent in the safest way possible during this time."

In her letter, Khanyile also suggested that they plan a luncheon later this year or early next year to celebrate the winners.

The Saftas were supposed to take place in Sandton, Johannesburg, at the weekend over two nights. This would have been the first time in three years that the awards would have taken place in Johannesburg. For the last three years they had been at the Sun City resort in Rustenburg.

This year nominees include Kgomotso Christopher, Warren Masemola, Sindi Dlathu, Leleti Khumalo, Presley Chweneyagae, Hamilton Dhlamini, Mapula Mafole, Baby Cele, Jamie Bartlett, Bongile Mantsai and Florence Masebe.

"The safety of South African citizens. is of paramount importance to the NFVF and it is for this reason the organising committee of the Saftas has suggested the above solution where we are still able to celebrate the much deserving stars of the industry," Khanyile said in her letter.

The future of this year's South African Music Awards also hangs in the balance amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Samas, usually held in May/June, announced on Friday that they have to change their planned schedule. Nominations for the music awards were scheduled to be announced in April.

"The 26th edition of the SA Music Awards has been postponed until further notice," said Recording Industry of SA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi.

"The premier awards event has taken [it's] cue from the announcements by President Cyril Ramaphosa, brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"New dates for the nominees announcement and the award ceremony will be made public depending on the advice from the government regarding the pandemic and when the situation in the country and the world improves."

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